4 out of 4 stars
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The concluding part of the book, Cooperative Lives, was so captivating that I didn’t want it to end. This other fiction novel, written by Patrick Finegan, tells the story of several people, from different walks of life, who lived in the same building and yet knew very little, if anything, about each other.
The book is full of many characters. However, I was able to identify two main characters to which all other characters were connected. These are George Wallace and John Bartholomew Roberts. Wallace is an IT expert who previously worked for a bank and later joined a hospital. He is married to Hanife Kaplan and they have one child Alya. Roberts is a securities lawyer who has previously worked for several law firms and he is currently unemployed. He is also married, to Susan McDonald, and they also have one child Melissa. Wallace and Robert are neighbors and came to know each other through their daughters at school. Their wives also became good friends and did skiing together.
The two families live happy lives together and with their neighbors. However, due to the nature of their jobs, their lives start to change through coincidences, accidents and evil plans of others. Wallace and Robert face a range of charges such as embezzlement, international espionage, and data-smuggling.
From the onset, I should advise the reader to take note of every detail that is mentioned by the author as it will prove to be useful later. At the start, the story is not easy to follow because the author purposefully pulls the reader back and forth between periods. The story shifts focus to several different characters and the plot almost loses focus. However, with time, the reader can join the links together between characters and their tales. Since the book has quite several characters the readers can easily get confused if they are not concentrating. For example, the author kept confusing me with the names of Jack Roberts and John Roberts. I kept thinking they were different individuals until I reached chapter 9 when I discovered that, it was the same person. I was assisted to keep track of the names of the characters by the list containing almost all the characters which the author has included immediately after the preface.
I like the way Patrick Finegan relates the names of his characters to the names of some real people who had lived before and had behaved in certain ways. He also gives a detailed history of certain characters, sometimes starting from the grandparents. This makes the story even more interesting. From some narrations, one can tell that the author is also conveying some message about the inequalities of life from history. From my understanding, the author has so much information he would like to share and he is indirectly doing that by way of giving the background history of his characters.
The last quarter of the book was a marvel and it was not easy to put the book aside. It was during this part that the story now started to unfold and became very clear. One could now tell who each character was. What I liked most was Wallace’s computer skills and how he put them to good use in helping others and himself.
Patrick Finegan’s Cooperative Lives would certainly be a good read for those who enjoy action-packed thrillers. The book is excellently edited and has a nice story that I enjoyed reading. The few errors I noticed, which are negligible, would not hinder me from rating this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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